Dravid out, Sehwag in

Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Karthik have been omitted from the India team to play Pakistan in the first two one-day internationals of the upcoming series. Entering the squad in their place are Virender Sehwag, Praveen Kumar and Gautam Gambhir.

The former captain, Dravid has been under pressure of late, struggling to score runs and missing the final ODI against Australia. Before the series relinquished the captaincy in an attempt to regain some form, but averaged just 10.20 in 5 innings against Australia since.

Dillip Vengsarkar, the chairman of the selection committee addressed the decision, saying, “We decided to give him a break. He’s a great player and he will be back soon.”

Karthik has similarly been struggling to score consistently in limited overs cricket. While he has played well in Tests, he counts an average of just 19.33 in 11 ODIs since the World Cup.

Looking to regain his place in the India team, Sehwag has been in good form of late, contributing well toward India’s championship run in the recent World Twenty20. He last played for India against Bangladesh earlier this year. Gambhir recently featured in the series against Australia, and gets recalled at the expense of Subramaniam Badrinath.

The lone new face in the squad is that of Praveen Kumar. A seam-bowling allrounder, Kumar has constructed a fine record over recent seasons, culminating with a strong showing in the Challenger Series. “Kumar gives us an [all-round] option. He has also played a crucial role for India A recently. Badrinath was brought in for Gambhir earlier, but he’ll get his chances, too,” Vengsarkar said.

India ODI squad:
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt & wk), Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Kartik.

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